Blind Fury

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Blind Fury
BlindFuryposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Produced by Tim Matheson
Daniel Grodnik
Screenplay by Charles Robert Carner
Story by Charles Robert Carner
Based on Zatoichi Challenged written by Ryôzô Kasahara
Starring
Music by J. Peter Robinson
Cinematography Don Burgess
Edited by David A. Simmons
Production
company
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date
  • August 17, 1989 (1989-08-17) (West Germany)
  • March 16, 1990 (1990-03-16) (U.S.)
Running time
86 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2,692,037 (domestic)[1]

Blind Fury is a 1989 American samurai action film written by Charles Robert Carner (of Gymkata fame) and directed by Phillip Noyce. It is a loosely based, modernized remake of Zatoichi Challenged, the 17th film in the Japanese Zatoichi film series.[2] The film stars Rutger Hauer as Nick Parker, a blind, sword-wielding Vietnam War veteran, who returns to the United States and befriends the son of an old friend. Parker decides to help the boy find his father, who has been kidnapped by a major crime syndicate.

Plot summary[edit]

Nick Parker (Rutger Hauer), an American soldier serving in the Vietnam War, is blinded by a mortar explosion, and soon after rescued by local villagers, who help him recover his health. Although he remains blind, as a part of his recovery, he is taught by the local master to be an expert swordsman and to train his other senses.

Years later, having returned to the United States, he visits old army buddy Frank Deveraux (Terry O'Quinn), only to find that Deveraux is missing. Parker meets Frank's son Billy (Brandon Call) and his mother Lynn (Meg Foster), Frank's ex-wife. Minutes later, Frank's evil boss, MacCready (Noble Willingham) has sent his henchman Slag (Randall "Tex" Cobb) to kidnap Billy in order to use him as leverage over Frank. Slag and two corrupt police officers attempt to kidnap Billy, but Nick stops them. The corrupts officers are killed, Billy is knocked unconscious, and Slag shoots Billy's mom before he escapes. With her last words before dying, Lynn tells Nick to take Billy to his father in Reno, Nevada.

Along the way to Reno, Parker tells Billy about his mother's death while at a rest stop. Upset, Billy runs away from Nick who chases him through a corn field. Billy is grabbed by Slag and MacCready's other henchmen who intend to kill Nick. Once again, Nick foils their plan by rescuing Billy and stopping Slag. But Slag survives his second encounter with Nick and his sword. Billy and Nick eventually become fond of each other leading Billy to refer to him as Uncle Nick.

Once they reach Reno the come in contact with Frank's girlfriend Annie, who agrees to take them to Frank. After avoiding yet another attempted kidnapping plot by MacCready's henchmen Annie suggests they hide out at home of Annie's friend Colleen. Later that evening Annie takes Nick to MacCready's casino, where Frank is making MacCready's drugs. Annie leaves to return to Colleen's to watch over Billy, while Nick saves Frank. When Nick and Frank are reunited, Frank takes the key ingredient in MacCready's drugs and destroys the lab setting it on fire. Despite being searched for by casino security, Nick and Frank escape and head to Colleen's to reunite Billy with his dad. But when they arrive they find Colleen dead, killed by Slag, and Billy and Annie kidnapped.

The note they recover instructs them to bring the drugs to MacCready's mountain penthouse in exchange for Billy and Annie. Knowing they could be walking into an ambush Nick and Frank arm themselves with homemade napalm bombs. With Nick's sword skills and Frank's bombs they put up a fight killing all of MacCready's henchmen. But their victory is short-lived when MacCready arrives hold both Billy and Annie at gunpoint. Impressed by Nick's martial-arts skill, MacCready hires a Japanese assassin (Sho Kosugi) to defeat Parker once and for all. This leads to an epic swordfight between the two, in which Nick eventually wins by knocking the assassin into a hot tub with electricity running through it. Then Slag with his desert eagle shoots Nick wounding him in the shoulder. But Nick then throws his sword like a spear at Slag which impales him. MacCready then tries to interfere only to be stopped by Frank. Billy escapes his rope and throws Nick's sword to him, but it lands in the electrified waters of the hot tub. Just as Slag reaches for his gun Nick grabs a hold of the assassin's blade. And before Slag can even get a shot off Nick uses the blade full force knocking Slag out of the window which also cuts him in half falling to his death.

With MacCready and his men defeated Frank is reunited with his son and Annie, and are about leave for San Francisco. Although Nick plans to travel with the trio, he instead drops his ticket as a sign of him not going. Billy follows Nick telling him that he needs him and Nick replies that he is fond of Billy but tells him to go back to his dad. Nick then crosses the street and vanishes when a bus passes him. A tearful Billy goes after Nick shouting that he needs him. Saddened by him leaving Billy throws his dinosaur off the Bridge where Nick catches it. Realizing Nick is under the Bridge and is not going with them Billy calls him Uncle Nick one last time and tells him that he's gonna miss him. Nick then smiles as Frank catches up to Billy where they embrace each other. The film ends with Nick shedding a tear and smiling as he put on his sunglasses, with Billy's dinosaur in his sling walking down a road leaving Reno to travel on his own.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Blind Fury marked the producing debut of actor Tim Matheson. Matheson produced the film having been a fan of the Zatoichi film series.[3] Matheson and co-producer Daniel Grodnik, spent seven years trying to find a distributor for the film. In 1986, the producers landed a deal with film distributor Tri-Star Pictures. According to Grodnik, various writers and directors were attached to the project before Phillip Noyce was hired as the film's director.

Hauer calls Blind Fury one of his "most difficult jobs" because of the combination of swordplay with playing a blind man; and Hauer spent a month training with Lynn Manning whose first words to him were "I don't get confused about what I see ...".[4]

Filming took place around the Midwestern United States, where the cast and crew underwent humid weather conditions. Of the intense weather conditions, Matheson stated, "We shot in the Midwest and West, and it was incredibly hot. Everything was burning up. We ended up buying a three-foot pool for the cast and crew to wade through to cope with the heat."[3] After principal photography was completed, a sequel to the film was planned, but never materialized.[3]

Release[edit]

Reception[edit]

On their syndicated television program Siskel and Ebert and the Movies, film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel gave the film "Two thumbs up".[5]

Reviewer Ian Jane of DVD Talk wrote, "Hauer does a commendable job in the lead and is reasonably convincing as a blind man. Like its Japanese predecessors, there is some humor interjected into the storyline that is handled well without becoming overbearing or taking over the action sequences."[6]

Based on only 12 reviews, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that Blind Fury currently holds a 58% "Rotten" rating, with a rating average of 4.7 out of 10.[7]

Censorship[edit]

The UK version was trimmed when it was released on VHS. The dialogue "Gasoline mixed with detergent..." was taken out due to the BBFC's worries of imitations from audiences.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Blind Fury (1990) – Weekend Box Office Results – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 12, 2010. 
  2. ^ Astell, Hal. "Blind Fury". blog. Apocalypse Later. Retrieved April 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Beck, Marilyn (July 24, 1988). "Hauer is in a 'Blind Fury' over samurai film". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010 
  4. ^ Hauer, Rutger. "Blind Fury". Rutger Hauer Official Website. Retrieved April 21, 2012. 
  5. ^ "At the Movies". Siskel and Ebert and the Movies. The Walt Disney Company, American Broadcasting Company. March 16, 1990. Retrieved June 12, 2010. [dead link]
  6. ^ Jane, Ian. "Blind Fury". DVD Talk. Retrieved April 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Blind Fury Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved June 12, 2010. 

External links[edit]